National Broadband Sales and Marketing Code of Practice

  1. The purpose of this Code of Practice

    The purpose of this Code is to describe the high standards we aim to achieve in our sales and marketing activities relating to our National Broadband phone services. This document provides a clear framework for good practice in our sales and marketing activities for our phone services.

    This Code deals primarily with issues arising before, during and at the point of sale. We want to make sure that our customers understand the National Broadband phone services offered by Virgin Media and the key terms of contracts they are entering into with us.

  2. Sales, marketing advertising and promotion

    We advertise and promote our National Broadband phone services in a range of ways (e.g. by advertising on TV, radio or press advertising, website promotions, in shops, direct marketing, etc). In all cases, our employees and representatives must act responsibly and comply with this Code of Practice, any other relevant codes of practice (including advertising codes such as the British Code of Advertising, Sales Promotion and Direct Marketing), laws and regulations.

    We'll aim to ensure that our advertising and promotional literature is clear, unambiguous, accurate and fair, containing no false or misleading information about price, value or service. We will not denigrate other service providers.

    Customers' legal rights and wishes will be respected where they have registered with any relevant preference service, including the Mailing Preference Service, the Telephone Preference Service, the Fax Preference Service and the E-mail Preference Service.

  3. Recruitment and training of sales staff

    Virgin Media has established procedures for the selection of our sales staff who will have direct contact with customers, and we are responsible for ensuring that any sub-contractors (third party agencies) we employ also set up equivalent selection procedures.

    Whilst operating within current employment legislation when recruiting sales staff, we also have regard to:

    1. behaviour and appearance, recognising that the sales person may be seen as the 'public face' of Virgin Media;
    2. security - references and relevant convictions for criminal offences will be checked and taken into account;
    3. evidence of mis-selling or lack of integrity - should there be any evidence of such matters in any previous selling employment, this will also be taken into account.

    In addition, we will observe the following requirements related to sales staff based in the UK:

    1. the applicant must provide proof of National Insurance number, proof of address and two references;
    2. referees must not be related to the applicant;
    3. business referees must not both be from the same company;
    4. if a sales person leaves Virgin Media for any reason a copy of his or her sales records (including all recordings and notes on sales) will be retained for a minimum period of six months;
    5. reasonable endeavours will be made to retrieve the identification badges of staff leaving the company.

    Should Virgin Media use overseas based sales-staff, equivalent procedures will be applied and documented.

    We will take steps to ensure, as far as is reasonably possible, that all sales staff are trained so as to have a sufficient understanding of the industry, the law, the business and the company processes such that any relevant advice given by a sales employee is not misleading. Our remuneration systems do not encourage misleading or exploitative sales practices.

  4. Customer contact

    Virgin Media promotes responsible sales and marketing practices and requires that no sales calls are made outside the hours of 08.00 to 21.00 unless the customer requests. When dealing with customers, employees should be courteous, use appropriate language and offer clear and straightforward explanations. All information should be factual and accurate. Employees should not misrepresent the services being offered nor those of other providers. Employees should also check that customers entering into contracts understand, and intend, to enter them.

    Employees must cease contact with any person who indicates that the contact is inconvenient, unwelcome, inappropriate or too long. If the customer requests it, the discussion must be ended immediately.

    Employees must not abuse the trust of vulnerable customers e.g. those who are elderly or whose first language is not English, or who have special needs. Employees should be aware of and comply with Virgin Media's policy concerning consumers who may be considered vulnerable. This includes the requirement that employees should not carry out sales presentations to customers whom they believe may be vulnerable.

    No sales or marketing activity should be conducted that is directed to those who are under 18.

    Sales and marketing campaign records will be maintained for six months, including the date and approximate time of the contact with the customer. These records will be such as to allow us to subsequently identify the salesperson involved and to assist in dealing with any complaint or query.

  5. Entering into a contract - information, order forms and contracts

    We will take all reasonable steps to ensure that the person entering into a contract is authorised to enter into the contract for fixed-line telecommunications services/bills at the premises.

    Our order and contract processes (whether customers sign up online or by speaking to our sales representatives on the phone) are designed to ensure that customers understand the contractual nature of the process.

    Customers are made aware of the existence of this Code. It can easily be downloaded and printed from our website. Copies are also available on request, free of charge.

    Where customers order our services on our website or on the phone, we comply with the Distance Selling Regulations.

    When you enter into a contract for our phone services over the phone, you will be sent written confirmation (by email or post) of the following information:

    1. Virgin Media's name, address, telephone, fax and e-mail contact details, as appropriate;
    2. a description of the telephone service sufficient to enable the customer to understand the option that the customer has chosen, and how it works;
    3. information about the major elements of the service, including the cost of any standing charges, the payment terms, line rental, key call types and details of "protected or special support" arrangements;
    4. the arrangements for provision of the service, including the order process and, as accurately as possible, the likely date of provision. Where there may be significant delay in the likely date of provision, the customer must be informed;
    5. the existence of a right of cancellation and what a customer has to do if he wants to cancel
    6. the period for which the charges remain valid;
    7. the minimum period of contract, and minimum contract charges, if any;
    8. information about any after sales service or guarantees; and
    9. arrangements for termination of the contract.

    In the case of internet orders, a well sign-posted hyperlink to this information will be maintain on the website which can be downloaded and printed.

    Should a customer request it, full written information about tariffs are available.

    During the Carrier Pre-Select switchover period there will be a process which allows customers to take service and use a 'no cost' cancellation where they change their mind. Customers will be made aware that they have the right to change their minds during the switchover period (the "switchover period" is the time between the confirmation of the order by Virgin Media and the switch on/over date of the service (a minimum of 10 working days).

    Customers can cancel orders and terminate contracts by telephone, in writing, by fax or by email.

    Virgin Media will send customers a letter which meets the industry-agreed processes and informs the customer of the details of the transfer. The letter must include the following details:

    1. date of notification;
    2. CLI(s) affected;
    3. list of services affected/unaffected, e.g. IA call barring;
    4. date of switchover;
    5. the sender's contact details for any queries.

    This notification will be by letter but may be sent electronically where customers have contacted Virgin Media by applying online, and have confirmed that they wish all future correspondence to be sent electronically.

    As part of this industry-agreed mandatory customer "notification of transfer" letter customers will be contacted to confirm that the customer understands that s/he has entered into an agreement, is happy to proceed with the agreement and is content with the way in which the sales and marketing activity was conducted. This contact to be made by a person not engaged directly in activities leading to the sale. If a customer feels that s/he did not understand or intend to enter into a contract, or if the order matured before the expiry of the switchover period, and the customer wishes to cancel, we will terminate the contract without charge or other penalty to the customer.

    We will keep under review the procedures by which contracts are agreed and take appropriate steps to address any problems identified.

  6. Consumer protection and other legal requirements

    Virgin Media's procedures have been drafted to comply with all applicable legislation and any relevant amendments to such legislation.

  7. Audit

    Virgin Media will carry out regular audits of systems, procedures and documentation to ensure that Virgin Media employees are complying with all aspects of this Code. Please note that nothing in this Code supersedes existing Codes of Practice, which may also apply.

  8. Customer complaints procedure

    Complaints to Virgin Media can be made in writing to:

    Media House
    Bartley Wood Business Park
    RG27 9UP
  9. Responsibility for compliance with this Code of Practice

    We are committed to ensuring all our representatives comply with this Code. Our Sales and Marketing Director is responsible for monitoring compliance and for handling any complaints relating to this Code. You can contact our Sales and Marketing Director as follows:

    Media House
    Bartley Wood Business Park
    RG27 9UP
  10. Distributing the Code: creating awareness

    Virgin Media makes the Code available to customers via the Internet.